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Slurs are just not funny

August 16, 2008

WHAT could the producers of the movie "Tropic Thunder" have been thinking?

What a shock it is that as a nation we are still so ignorant to the sensitivities of people with intellectual disabilities that the use of the word "retard" could be considered acceptable dialogue in a movie ["Explosive Comedy," by Kenneth Turan, Aug. 13].

How could the movie industry that is revered in this city not understand the impact it carries on moviegoers and assume responsibility accordingly?

Kenneth Turan asks what is acceptable in the name of humor. I cannot imagine it could include filmmakers denigrating the disabled.

At the very least, they should not be referring to them as "retards." It is inexcusable.

Ramon Cortines

Los Angeles

The writer is senior deputy superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.


IF Ben Stiller's character had appeared as an Orthodox rabbi in a Holocaust movie for a shameless Oscar bid, would Turan laugh at a fellow actor's admonition not to go "full kike"?

Somehow, I think not. Most critics don't want to take guys like Stiller to task because they're all desperately afraid of looking like just what so many of them actually are: aging and unhip.

Back in the day before people said "back in the day," I'm sure there were some critics who whined about having to write about enlightened images of blacks, women, Asians, gays, Hispanics and Jews in features and TV movies like "Roots," "An Unmarried Woman," "Farewell to Manzanar," "Philadelphia," "Zoot Suit" and "Gentleman's Agreement." There are worse things than being aging and unhip, like not speaking up when prejudice is openly practiced under the guise of satire.

Tony Peyser

Van Nuys

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